MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan and former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver will be the newest members of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will be held April 30, 2016, at the UW-Milwaukee Panthers Arena in downtown Milwaukee. Ryan and Driver were introduced on Tuesday at a news conference at the Kohl Center, home of Ryan’s Badgers.
Ryan and Driver will join a Hall of Fame of 135 members, including Packers legends Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr, Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker and baseball great Hank Aaron, and former Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire. They’ll be the first inductees in seven years for the organization, which has been on hiatus since 2009.
Ryan is 357-125 in 14 seasons as Badgers coach, having led the team to the NCAA tournament each year. The Badgers, who earned back-to-back Final Four berths the last two seasons, lost to Duke in the national title game in April.
Ryan also won four NCAA Division III titles as coach at Wisconsin-Platteville and posted a 353-76 record in the 1990s.
Driver, who played 14 seasons in Green Bay from 1999 to 2012, completed his career as the Packers’ career leader in receptions (743), receiving yards (10,137) and 1,000-yard seasons (seven). Driver was a member of Green Bay’s Super Bowl team that beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010.
A seventh-round NFL draft pick out of Alcorn State, Driver ranks second in Packers franchise history for most games played at 205 games.
Ryan said he was honored to be included with Driver in the 2016 class. Both honorees came from modest backgrounds to reach pinnacles in their careers. Ryan started as a junior high school teacher and coach from Pennsylvania. Driver, who was born in Houston, overcame poverty and homelessness.
“It means it’s America - anything can happen,” Ryan said. “If Donald and I can go in together, anything can happen.”
Ryan said he didn’t want to reminisce about a coaching career that spans 32 seasons, but shifted attention to people and fans who helped him achieve that success.
“I don’t know about legacy, I’m still coaching,” Ryan said. “It still boils down to how do you get to stand here with all these microphones and cameras in my face? It’s because of other people.”
Ryan added: “I just keep thinking about all the teams and all the players, and all the fans at Platteville making road trips, at UWM (Milwaukee) and here at Wisconsin. All the things that we’ve been through together - people who live and breathe in the state of Wisconsin. They love sports.”
The subject of Ryan’s future didn’t come up at the announcement on Tuesday. The coach had said in June that he planned to retire at the end of the upcoming season, but he has since left open the possibility of staying beyond this year.
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